Blogs  / February 7, 2020

Data-Backed Tips to Optimize News Release Distribution

by Erik Wagner, Sr. Director of Demand Generation

In this blog series, we shared information from the first ever analysis of nearly 17,000 releases conducted by Business Wire and Onclusive. In the first blog, we discussed key benchmarks for news releases and in the subsequent post we shared important information on timing for news and IR releases

You might be wondering what practical takeaways you can apply to your own business to make sure you meet or exceed the benchmarks presented. In this post, we’ll focus on some best practices backed by the study findings. For more in-depth information, grab your copy of the study by downloading here

PR and IR teams have primarily relied on tradition or intuition to inform the day and time that most news releases were published. Though a large majority of releases are sent on the same days and at roughly the same times, hard data to support these strategies did not exist. However, the innovative study we released at the 2019 PRSA International Conference provides data-backed evidence of best practices that professionals can follow to boost news release performance with multimedia.

How can PR pros increase their chances for editorial coverage? 

The biggest step a company can take to maximize the likelihood of generating earned media articles is to add multimedia. Adding a visual component was found to provide a substantial boost in media coverage. Additionally, word count seems to be a factor, with longer-than-average word count gaining more earned media coverage. In this case, releases with word counts above 936 received the most coverage. 

Social media is also an important factor when distributing releases. Brand’s with influential social media accounts hold incredible power and reach, and PR professionals should take care to maximize the socialization of their news. The study suggests that several factors can drive better social media amplification, starting with broader distribution. News releases distributed globally showed an average of 20% more social media than those distributed only locally. Using multimedia assets in a release boosted social media activity by an average of 12%.

Don’t underestimate the power of timing. Recall the note in our last blog stating that the most popular time for PR teams to post their news releases is Tuesday at 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. ET, which has more than 2 times the news release volume of any other hour for the rest of the week. That makes it easier for releases posted at that time to get lost in the noise. Consider making slight adjustments to send the release at 7:57 or 8:13 (rather than the top of the hour) to help it stand out. Also, when indexed as an average against the number of releases overall, the rate of social media engagement is best for releases that go out in the afternoon hours, including 1:00, 5:00, 7:00, and even up to 11:00 p.m. ET. However, when timing IR releases, noon Tuesday and 10:00 a.m. Friday tend to be the best for maximizing social media amplification. 

The study was designed to reveal unexpected methods that drive the best outcomes and to help communications teams refine their news distribution strategies for broader visibility and greater engagement. If you need help more assistance in delivering your most relevant content to the right audience at the right time, reach out to Onclusive. We help companies like yours to optimize their communications strategies towards true business objectives.